The Beginning of THE END

After SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright were looking for the next project. Ironically the way forward would start by finding a script from way back in the past.

Just how far would a man go for a pint - to the end of the world, perhaps?

That burning question is explored by director/screenwriter Edgar Wright, actor/screenwriter Simon Pegg, and actor Nick Frost, following up their international success with SHAUN OF THE DEADand HOT FUZZ. Wright assesses the resulting tale, THE WORLD'S END, as being "within the British tradition of being either irreverent or having a dry reserve in the face of something calamitous. It follows a boys' night out gone very badly wrong.

"Thematically, it's linked to our two earlier movies. These are all different stories with different characters, but obsessions of Simon's and mine are in all three scripts."

Pegg notes, "It's a bigger proposition for us than the earlier pictures."

"THE WORLD'S ENDis definitely ambitious," Wright agrees. "That is evident on a physical production level. But also, in this story, we address the element of just how healthy it is to be nostalgic - to look back, let alone to try to go back. Everyone has fantasized about having done things differently; we all think back on our adolescences. Each film I've done with Simon and Nick has had a biographical element."

Pegg reflects, "It's the most personal of our three films together. We learned on SHAUN OF THE DEADthat it was possible to combine serious situations with comedy and heart. Thematically, THE WORLD'S ENDis linked to the two other movies through an individual facing off against a collective, one person versus a homogenized force."

Wright says, "All three films take people's perceived stereotypes of the U.K. and turn them on their head. We revel in them and satirize them at the same time."

Pegg reveals that the pub crawl element "partly came from a script that Edgar had toyed with at a young age - its title was Crawl."

Wright admits, "When I was a teenager, I went on a pub crawl of fifteen drinking establishments in my hometown. I didn't make it past pub six or seven. I'm not entirely proud of this. A couple of years later, I wrote a script about teenagers on a pub crawl. That sense of it being a quest, an adventure stuck in my head."

The concept continued to germinate. Frost remembers, "About 10 years ago, Edgar and I had discussed a pub crawl film. We went and hired a car and a cottage with the intention of doing a bit of writing.

"We just kind of drove around listening to music and could not do any writing at all, which I now regret."

After HOT FUZZ, the idea came to Wright anew. He says, "I was thinking about Superbad when that film was about to be released, and recalled my teenage drinking script and the fact that I'd done nothing with it. Then a thought struck me: what if the teenage drinking quest was just the beginning...

"I remember Simon and I were standing by a baggage carousel in Sydney, during the promo tour for HOT FUZZ. I said to him, 'There's this idea I had for a film. What if, for the first five minutes, you showed these five guys in 1990 and then flashed forward with them trying their quest again as adults, and some otherworldly event happens?' We started talking it through, and started to figure out what the cosmic intervention might be."

Pegg says, "That notion of going home to where you were from and it being very different was something that we had in mind because we were on that world tour promoting HOT FUZZ. What we liked was the idea of, you go home and everything seems to have shifted and it wasn't because you had changed - there was in fact something happening."

Wright adds, "The concept was also that while the movie would take a deliberate left turn with the plot and even the genre, the original story keeps pushing forward. The characters' goal, their quest, is the same at the start of the film as it is at the end of the film. It's the obstacle that changes."

The team's own itineraries changed as other projects took shape for them; after HOT FUZZ opened in 2007, Frost and Pegg came up with the idea for an original screenplay titled Paul, which they wrote and starred in. Around that same time Wright was co-writing the screenplay adaptation for, and then directing, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Nira Park, who produced all of the aforementioned films, remarks that "it took quite a while to get Simon and Edgar back in a room. You wonder, 'Are we ever going to get the band back together again?'"